Appropriate Monumental Use of Fortresses

Hardly a subject seems more suitable for comprehensively reflecting the international and interdisciplinary aspects of conservation,

and its tasks and developments, in a variety that only few categories of European architectural history achieve. Already in antiquity, cities, centres of political control and military encampments were protected by walls, palisades, towers, gates, walls and ditches(1).

Even in the medieval world, castles, safe houses and fortified settlements shaped the day-to-day picture of landscapes and cities. Starting with the ringcastles, walled enclosures of the Slavic and Viking times (2), the imposing castles and fortifications of the late Middle Ages that have survived throughout Europe (3) to the numerous city surrounded by towers, walls and ditches even today (4) reflect not only origins and consolidation of European cities accompanied by wars, alarums and conquest, but also the daily experience of life and the environment of a large part of the civil population.

With the rise of artillery, the fortress developed as an architectural necessary into ever more complex and demanding systems of bastions, citadels, casemates, forts and outer works, their integrated whole cities and landscapes into a complicated network of sophisticated military defence lines (5). Since the Renaissance and the age of the Baroque, engineering and military architecture were amongst the chief concerns of the architects, who, like Claude Perrault or Balthasar Neumann, often began their careers in military service.

The numerous tractates surviving of "military building art" further, even today, provide evidence of the lasting influence of this approach on the general development of architecture. With the developmentof modern war technology, these defences lost their strategic importance in the twentieth century.Nonetheless, the remains of such installations as the Maginot Line and the Atlantic Wall or East Wall must in the broadest sense be included amongst the defensive structures of the modern age (6).

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Article and Image Source: http://www.kuwi.europa-uni.de/





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